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A very worthy Disney 2D effort. Fun and beautiful.

  • Dec 22, 2010
  • by
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG is a very loose adaptation of the classic fairy tale, THE FROG PRINCE. Disney took the story of the prince who has been turned into a frog and can only be saved by a kiss, and launched a story all its own. The story itself is pleasant enough, but frankly, it is nothing special. What IS special about this film is Disney's return to a 2D, hand drawn animation style and the wonderful idea to set this film in bayou country in Louisiana.

First, the story. In this film, a plucky but poor young lady named Tiana desires nothing more than to open a restaurant and prepare the food she and her dear departed father used to enjoy making for their friends and neighbors. She has remained friends with spoiled but kind-hearted rich girl…and this puts her into contact with Prince Naveen, who is visiting New Orleans in search of a rich girl to marry (because his parents have cut him off from their money). Unfortunately, by the time Tiana meets him, he's already been turned into a frog by the local voodoo specialist, Dr. Facilier. He convinces Tiana to kiss him…but rather than break the spell, Tiana is ALSO turned into a frog. This launches the two into an unlikely but fun adventure in the swamps, where they meet a friendly gator and a very amusing (and very Cajun) firefly. Leave it to Disney to come up with great sidekicks. And the idea of the fireflies is not only creative, but leads to some absolutely gorgeous scenes.

And those gorgeous scenes are rendered "old school". I'm sure some of this was aided by computer…but the look is hand-drawn, just like the days of SNOW WHITE or SLEEPING BEAUTY. While I heartily enjoy the Pixar films and many other 3D-esque animated features…PRINCESS AND THE FROG reminded me that these 2D images can feel like masterpieces of art come to life. The lush and colorful backgrounds somehow feel more "real" than the sometimes photorealistic backgrounds of a film like TOY STORY. I frequently found myself simply marveling at the gorgeous, watercolor backgrounds or the sumptuous, evocative color choices. The whole film feels like a Mardi Gras.

The story certainly could have been told in other settings…but putting it in New Orleans at what feels like the time between the two World Wars was genius. We see the stark contrasts between rich and poor. Between black & white. Yet New Orleans has a sparkle and energy that is unique…and that comes to vivid life too. It's a melting pot like no other…and the film captures that mood and ambiance. And this setting inspired Randy Newman to write some of his most un-Randy Newman-like music…and it works great. I FREQUENTLY found myself tapping my toes to the beat. The songs are simply terrific. None really became breakout hits…but they all wonderfully accent the film.

The voice work is generally top notch. A few famous folks drop by, such as Oprah Winfrey and the unmistakable John Goodman (both in small roles). But led by relative unknown Anika Noni Rose as Tiana…we spend very little time "recognizing" famous voices, and most of the time appreciating the uniformly excellent acting and singing.

The film was a modest hit in theaters. It just didn't generate huge excitement. Heck, it took me over a year to see it. But truly it is a throwback to Disney's glory days, and while it doesn't quite achieve the heights of PINOCCHIO or CINDERELLA…it is a very, very worthy entry into that pantheon. While it's great for adults, please try to see it with a child. They'll thank you.

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More The Princess and the Frog (200... reviews
review by . August 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   Disney's The Princess and the Frog, on Blu-ray, is first and foremost gorgeous on Blu-ray. The picture quality is crisp and sharp with eye popping colors and great sound.      The story ... is the same pedestrian princess-fantasy drek that Disney has been pumping out since 1937. Your kids will most likely love it, you are probably getting sick of the story-by-numbers themes that Disney runs.      [WARNING!: Philosophy, skip if this bores or …
Quick Tip by . August 08, 2011
Was pleasantly surprised by the story line, which did show that hard work can lead to greater rewards and that beauty is more than just the way someone looks.
review by . January 25, 2010
   "The Princess and The Frog" was definitely more than just another movie for Disney. Disney hasn't had a successful traditional animated theatrical movie since "Lilo & Stitch" and hasn't made a theatrical princess movie since the 1990's. It was supposed to be a turning point for traditional animation at Disney. I personally would say it was mildly successful. It placed #47 in Box Office Sales of an Animated Movie, not the scratching the surface of what Pixar movies …
Quick Tip by . October 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A vapid story of a bunch of self-obsessed and materialistic characters. Now, some people have commented that the story is also racist because many of the characters are mere caricatures of black people. However, without defending either the portrayal of the characters or Disney, I'd like to point out that all of Disney's characters have been caricatures and archetypes... They are telling fairy tales after all. That aside, there isn't much to like here. The story and the characters are pretty much …
review by . March 02, 2010
Disney's newest animated film, Princess and the Frog, was advertised for months. Hype for this movie has been huge and that is largely because it is the return to hand drawn animation, something that has been gone from the Disney Company for years. Many people were anxious to see how the newest movie about the newest princess would turn out. So the big question is: Did it live up to the hype?      In my opinion, yep! The movie was a cute and fun, it seemed to go by fast and the …
review by . June 25, 2010
After watching this movie, I've finally come to understand Disney's movie strategy every year. Basically, every year Pixar releases a movie with either all of the lead roles being male, or half of the lead roles being male. The same year, Disney's traditional cartoon will have a female lead, or a male-female shared lead. So for 2009, Pixar's release was Up, starring all male leads. And Disney's traditional cartoon was another "princess" movie with a female lead. To complete the separation, the Pixar …
review by . March 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
All I can say is this: It's about time! Once again the 2D animation department at Disney has completed a theatrical release. Now, I may not be young, and I may not have children of my own, but I know as a fact that everyone can likely attest to how important Disney's animated musicals were to their childhood. At the age of five the first film I ever saw in theaters WAS a Disney film. I don't support the company for the most part, but I'll be darned if I don't expect quality from their 2D department. …
Quick Tip by . December 22, 2009
Very funny & upbeat! A modern day version of a fairytale. Love the musical and comical side of this cartoon. I like it!
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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About this movie


The Princess and the Frog is a 2009 American animated family feature film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, which is loosely based on E.D. Baker's novel The Frog Princess and the Grimm brothers' fairy tale "The Frog Prince". It is the 49th animated feature in theWalt Disney Animated Classics line, and the first of these films to be traditionally (2d) animated since 2004's Home on the Range. The film was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, directors of The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, andTreasure Planet, with songs and score composed by Randy Newman and featuring the voices of Anika Noni Rose (as Princess Tiana), Oprah Winfrey, Keith David, Jim Cummings, John Goodman, Jenifer Lewis, Bruno Campos, Michael-Leon Wooley, Peter Bartlett and Terrence Howard.

The film, which began production under the working title The Frog Princess, is an American fairy tale, Broadway-style musical set in theFrench Quarter of New Orleans. A prince named Naveen (Bruno Campos) from the land of Maldonia is transformed into a frog by the evil scheming voodoo magician Dr. Facilier (Keith David). The frog prince mistakes a girl named Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) for a princess and has her kiss him to break the spell. However, the kiss doesn't break the spell, but instead turns Tiana into a frog as well. Together, the two of them must reach the good voodoo priestess of the Bayou, Mama Odie, while befriending a trumpet-playing alligator ...
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DVD Release Date: March 16, 2010
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
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